Friday, July 16, 2010


You should be able to do it outside, but not in a crowd.

In your car, on your way to pick up your date, but I wouldn’t recommend it. You’d be amazed how long it lingers.

Down a dark and secluded alley? Don’t see why not. Although I’m not a big fan of going down dark, secluded alleys in the first place.

Kissing someone? Yea-a-a-ah-h-h, No … definitely not.

About to shake hands to close that big deal? What, are you stupid? Of course not.

Need to let someone behind you know that they’re getting too close? Most assuredly, yes.

In a hot tub, alone? Why not.

In a hot tub, with family? Maybe.

In a hot tub, with neighbors? I wouldn’t.

After just saying, “I do,” to your new bride? Not the augury I would want at the beginning a new life. But that’s just me. If you’re still into mullets, maybe it’d work for you.

As the valet driver delivering the client’s Lamborghini, and you’re hoping for a nice tip? I wouldn’t even if there were no tip. It’s a Lamborghini.

In a movie theater, in front of some obnoxiously loud candy eater who can’t seem to get the wrapper off his box of individually wrapped sweets? I would, I have and I will again.

Not sure if it’s solid, liquid or gas? Why take the risk?

With your dog? He probably wouldn’t mind.

At K-Mart? Happens all the time.

At Neiman Marcus? Happens all the time.

In an elevator? Not me.

So, Benjamin Franklin’s advice notwithstanding, do you think it’s cool to fart freely?

Thursday, July 15, 2010


“I have too much stuff,” she said. “I have too much. My husband has too much. My kids have too much. The house has too much. The garage has too much. Heck, our storage shed has too much, because we just rented a second space to store more stuff.”

She shook her head as her eyes slowly closed and re-opened. She shook her head once more.

“Nobody wants to get rid of their stuff,” she continued. “But I’m starting to get worried. It clutters our living space. It clutters our ‘extra’ space. It clutters my mind.”

I continued to listen quietly, since I sensed she wasn’t done yet.

“Do you know how much time I spend just cleaning the stuff, and moving the stuff to clean under and around the stuff? It’s ridiculous. Half the time, I don’t even bother any more.”

I nodded, reassuring her that I understood.

“We tell ourselves we’re simplifying, but we’re really not. We’re just getting better at organizing and storing things out of sight. But I’m telling you, in this instance, out of sight does not mean out of mind.”

I still hadn’t said a word, and she still wasn’t done spilling her words.

“Actually, I’m getting better at organizing and storing things out of sight. My husband treats his space like it’s just one big filing cabinet. Except things aren’t in order, they’re just in space. And the kids treat their room like it’s a huge toy box, even though they have toy boxes and storage bins to put their stuff away. They just don’t.”

She paused, as if looking through the storage boxes in her mind and trying to find the one that would offer her some solace. Then she shrugged her shoulders, giving up her mental search.

“What would you do? Where would you start?”

I told her the first place she has to start is in herself.

“If you can unclutter your mind,” I said, “the rest will come much easier. You have to picture in your mind, what your simplified home looks like. See it in fine detail. Imagine yourself, walking into the living room and notice where everything is and how you feel about it. Once you know exactly what your living room looks like in its ideal condition, infuse that mental picture with feelings of contentment and satisfaction. Once you feel good and at peace with your uncluttered and simplified room, then begin to bring what you have conceived in your mind, into the real world. You will quickly discover that once your mind knows what the end goal is and how good it makes you feel, your body will work toward that end goal too.”

It’s really a simple goal achievement process that works in almost every area of one’s life. And in the era of simplifying our lives, it works remarkably well and remarkably quick.

See it. Infuse it. Do it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


“I don’t have any teeth,” he said. “I mean, I have teeth but they’re in such bad shape and I can’t afford a dentist, so I have to be very careful chewing my food. And my front teeth are so loose I can’t actually bite anything anymore.

“I was out at Ruth’s Chris Steak House the other night,” he continued. “And I felt like such a wuss because I had to cut my steak into such small pieces.”

As he continued telling his toothly tale of woe, I couldn’t help but remember that old saying, modified here to be more appropriate:

I cried because I had no teeth. Until I met a man who had no food.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


It was in the middle of nowhere, really. Other than a few farmhouses and barns, too many cows and corn, and a few rats scattered among the scores of cats roaming the countryside, there really seemed to be little life.

It was late at night, I was driving tired from too many hours already spent on the road, and in the distance it beckoned.

Not like the sirens call of Greek mythology, luring me to some ultimate doom. And not like the fire light that seduces the moth into its fallen flash of death.

No, this was more like a neon finger flickering for attention amidst the back country’s thousands of stars, as if it didn’t know whether it should vie for attention or not. Nonetheless, it drew me ever closer, and closer, and closer.

I had opened my window for a wallop of fresh, cool night air, hoping it would startle my eyes into staying open, when I heard the sound of … what the heck is that??

It was like something that wanted to be an accordion, but wasn’t. Accompanied by the sound of something that wanted to be, I’m not sure, maybe a harmonica, but wasn’t. And the sound of something that reminded me of singing, but wasn’t.

I slammed on my brakes, skidding halfway through the intersection, having realized slightly too late that there was a stop sign. Although about a third of the sign was missing, having apparently been the victim of shotgun blast.

The smell of skunk wafted nonchalantly through my nostrils, and headed straight for the back of my brain where it plastered a sign that said, “eww-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w.”

Still, I didn’t move. My eyes were transfixed on the scene that laid no more than thirty feet in front of me. My foot still pressed hard on the brake pedal.

There it was. Not a finger flickering for attention, but a neon pickle struggling to stay lit.

The parking lot was full of cars, trucks and a few motorcycles.

It was the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere, and I was stopped in the middle of the intersection of Erehwon and Zilch Roads. Somebody had a sense of humor. (Erehwon is nowhere spelled backwards.)

After about five minutes, I lifted my foot off the brake pedal and slowly headed toward the parking lot. It didn’t matter how tired I was or how soon I wanted to get home, I had to know more about this place called, “Pickled Pete’s Pantry, Pub and Used Cars.”

The sound that was trying to be music, but wasn’t, was still playing.

I parked a few cars from the front door.

The hand-written sign on the door said, “Tonight Only! The Tar Bottom Trio! No Cover!”

I pushed open the door and stood there, looking the place over before committing myself to actually walk in.

I heard a friendly voice bellow from behind the bar, “Come on in friend. The Pantry and Used Car Lot is closed but the Pub’s open for another couple of hours.”

It seemed safe enough, so I walked up to the bar and sat down on an old but comfortable stool.

“I’m Pickled Pete,” the bartender said, “What can I getcha?”

“Got some strong, black coffee?” I asked.

“Sure do, made fresh only a couple hours ago. Shot of anything in it?”

“No thanks,” I said. “Just the coffee.”

As the Tar Bottom Trio was finishing its “song”, I noticed the handful of other patrons in the bar. Most were, shall we say, definitely under the influence. As in, you won’t need a breathalyzer to know these people are past the legal limit.

I asked Pete about his entertainment.

“Yeah,” he said. “That’s my second cousin Frank on the concertina and his wife, Millie, plays the comb. They’ve been trying to break into the music biz for the past 8 or 9 years, so I let ‘em play here for the practice.”

The concertina was that sound that was trying to be an accordion, but wasn’t. And Millie was actually playing a comb with a piece of paper over it.

“But they’re called a trio,” I said. “Where’s the third person?”

“Oh, that’s Gabe,” Pete said. “But he’s not a person. He’s their parrot.”

And that would be the sound of something that reminded me of singing, but wasn’t. Gabe was the trio’s lead singer.

Don’t get me wrong. The parrot knew the lyrics, mostly, and sort of carried a tune, somewhat, but I wouldn’t call him a “lead singer.”

That is, until I heard Frank and Millie sing. So yeah, Gabe was the trio’s lead singer.

I had a couple more cups of coffee that was so strong it could have been on steroids, and left Pickled Pete’s Pantry, Pub and Used Cars wide, wide awake.

About a mile down the rode, I caught a glimpse of chrome parked behind a billboard. It was a cop car, waiting.

Shortly after passing him, the red and blue flashing lights signaled me to pull over. The cop came over to my door. “Been drinking tonight?” he asked.

“Just coffee, sir,” I said.

He leaned in closer to my face, and said, “Mind exhaling for me?”

I exhaled.

“Smells like Pickled Pete’s brew,” the officer said. “He reuses some coffee grounds with every pot he makes. Really strong stuff.”

“Yes,” I said. “Definitely some strong coffee.”

“Well, you’re free to go. Drive safely.”

As I drove off, I had to wonder … why do people put bars in the middle of nowhere?

You have to drive to get there. Then you drink. Often too much. And even though you’re drunk, you still have to drive to get home. It’s not like you can just walk home or catch a bus. You’re miles from anything.

I don’t really have a great ending to that last paragraph. It was just one of those hangers-on thoughts that you feel obligated to let loose, but afterward, you wish you hadn’t. I won’t belabor the point any longer.

You’re free to go.

Drive safely.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Who are these “womens” he speaks of ?

Your Monday Morning Chuckle.